The lack of soundproof booths on the main stage of this year's DOTA 2 The International (TI) raised eyebrows even before the first match began on day 1 of the playoffs. By the time all the matches were over, the community was furious with the issue and the likely unfair advantage it created for those playing on stage.
Soundproof booths have been a constant feature in TI over the years. These boxes allow players to compete without being bothered by casters shouting or the thunderous roars of DOTA 2 fans present at the venue. While the latter can boost morale, the former can lead to unfair advantages for those players who can understand what they are saying.
This is reportedly what is happening at this year's TI, with some players pointing out that they could hear commentators' words and make adjustments to their gameplay based on that knowledge. This is a significant oversight on the part of Valve, and DOTA 2 fans are expectedly outraged by the state of their favorite esports tournament.
DOTA 2 community furious with the absence of soundproof booths at TI 2022
Upon seeing the lack of soundproof booths on the main stage for the participants and how close the crowd sat to them, the community feared that cheers, chants or roars from fans could easily ruin a team's strategy. As noted by a Reddit user, any team can easily learn about a sneaky Roshan attempt from the opposite side based on how the crowd responds.
Their worst fears actually came true when Gaimin Gladiator's Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov mentioned that the players were able to hear what the casters were saying during the match. In a post-match interview, dyrachyo mentioned that they could make out whatever the commentators were saying about smokes and runes.
He further stated that Seleri, another Gaimin Gladiators player, called out during the match that "they have DD (double damage rune)" and "they are in smoke." These are critical lapses on the part of the tournament organizers as it creates an unfair advantage for players who can make out what the English casters are saying.
A smoke play or a power rune can be integral to the next fight that a team takes and dyrachyo's statement is a major cause for concern. It was also further mentioned by BurNIng, the co-founder of Team Aster, that his team had reported the soundproofing problem to PGL, but received no feedback regarding the matter.
The same issue could have been resolved with better sound-proofing earphones. TI 2022 has been plagued with one production issue after another ever since the event kicked off with the Group Stage. Fans have been livid with how subpar the overall quality of this year's event feels, especially considering that DOTA 2's TI is one of the biggest esports events in the world.
While many hoped that things would turn out for the better when the main event began, it looks like there are still glaring issues present. The soundproof booths have been a DOTA 2 TI staple over the years and for good reason. It remains to be seen if the organizers will reintroduce them anytime soon.